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Red Robin chain “Yammers” its way to meaningful internal dialogue

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — When retailers discuss a social media strategy, they usually mean something involving reaching out to customers through popular social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. And while that is an important marketing technique to engage modern consumers, social media can also serve as a powerful internal communications and engagement platform. For example, quick service hamburger chain Red Robin uses the Yammer enterprise social network to directly link employees to senior management and each other in real time.

Using an internally deployed Yammer network, Red Robin is able to allow employees to directly ask questions and make suggestions in an open forum. Senior executives can easily deliver video messages to employees across the company in real time. New initiatives and programs can be quickly rolled out, with employees able to offer instant feedback. Managers can also easily have higher-level conversations with each other.

Enterprise social tools like Yammer have helped Red Robin transform a widespread employee base of nearly 30,000 across 44 states into a more tightly knit workforce focused entirely on team member and guest satisfaction,” said Chris Laping, senior VP of business transformation and chief information officer, Red Robin.

The word “yammer” traditionally means to mindlessly prattle about topics of little or no importance. But at least in the case of Red Robin, Yammer is having what kids in the 1980s would have called a “bad” impact on Red Robin’s internal communications.

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T.Platt says:
Jun-03-2013 04:10 pm

Yammer for internal dialogue among store staff and corporate; PoKos for omnichannel engagement among consumers, on the one hand, and all brand and retail staff, on the other. http://amex.co/13rIN5K

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Former Microsoft manager plans chain of pot stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York —Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft corporate strategy manager, announced plans to invest $100 million over the next three years in a national chain of marijuana stores. The stores would sell both medical-use and adult-use (recreational) cannabis. Shively is now CEO of San Diego-based Diego Pellicer, which describes itself as the first legal premium marijuana retailer in the United States.

While the use, sale and possession of marijuana remains illegal in the United States under federal law, two states (Washington and Colorado) have legalized recreational marijuana use. Both states are among 18 states that allow it for medical use.

Speaking at a press conference in Seattle, Shively said within three years, he expects to open a dozen branded stores in the state of Washington, another dozen stores in Colorado and as many as hundreds in California. (Currently, only medical marijuana is legal in the Golden State, voters are widely expected to legalize recreational pot in 2016). He also said he was launching his business by acquiring medical pot dispensaries in three states.

Shively’s announcement created a media storm but it was also met with some skepticiam. Critics said he offered few details about the acquisitions, and even less about the investors he had lined up and how the investments would not violate the federal prohibition of marijuana.

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Registration open for Kids In Need gala

BY CSA STAFF

The Kids In Need Foundation will hold its 15th annual Kids In Need Foundation Education Celebration Gala Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Depot, in Minneapolis, Minn.

A cocktail reception, sponsored by Target, will kick things off at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Gala Dinner, sponsored by 3M, at 7:30 p.m.

Attending the gala will be representatives from major retailers and manufacturers, who will be able to network with others in the school supplies and office products industry, as well as companies outside the industry who partner with Kids In Need.

All proceeds from the gala will help the foundation provide children and teachers with free school supplies from the Kids In Need National Network of Resource Centers. Last year, Kids In Need distributed more than $42 million worth of school supplies to the centers in its network. Since its inception, the Kids In Need Foundation has distributed more than $400 million in school supplies to low-income schools free. The foundation serves 2.4 million students and 100,000 teachers annually, and has awarded $1.4 million in grants to teachers.

Other sponsors of this year’s gala include Darice, Art Skills, Blue Sky, Crayola, Acco, Elmer’s, Horizon Group USA, Pilot, OfficeMax, Tung Yung, Zebra, Mega and Bic. Registration for the event is now open. The Depot is located at 225 Third Ave. South, Minneapolis, Minn. 55401.

The Kids In Need Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1995. The foundation spends less than 2% on administration, and allocates 98% of revenue to teachers and students.

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